Thursday, 17 May 2012

"But...but...THREE SETS!"

A couple of items concerning theft in the Christchurch red-zone have hit the news recently. Firstly the case of Victor Tupotahi Jackson who stole around $23,000 worth of merchandise while working as a contractor and secondly an as of yet unnamed police officer who was accused of stealing sunglasses from a store.

Jackson wound up in jail for 2 years with a $6000 reparation bill as the police recovered about $17,000 worth of goods. The police officer was not convicted because "Officers' fingerprints are recorded for elimination purposes, but it is not lawful for these to be used for any other purpose.  As a result the decision was made, reluctantly, that charges could not be brought against the constable."

Sounds fairly standard - though one does wonder if the officer should have faced a charge at least. But some commentator/blogger thought there was something odd about this and wrote a piece about the two cases - drawing them together in a baffling manner.

It was this quote on The Standard which got me thinking:

So I posted back - hoping  to clarify the confusion (note: the linked $36000 related to reports from April 2012):

After receiving no response and my curiosity growing I replied directly to the blog posting:

The Jackal responded with recent link clarifying the amount stolen by Jackson but the missing sunglasses went from three to at least six:

I mistyped and wrote "$24,000" instead of "$23,000" not that it changed the point. Following up with another comment, I wondered about where those extra sunglasses had appeared from. As you can see I received a stern warning for my outrageous adherence to facts.

In the next post Jackal iterated the issue was in fact about the policeman getting away with apparent theft followed by the issue of race:

For the record, I don't want to get involved in racial disputes. It is counter-productive and I find it brings the worst out of people so I wanted sidestep that particular point while not avoiding it - but still addressing the other points raised:

No more of these silly questions:

 Ahhhh, well. Perhaps I should ask if he thought these were $8000 magic sunglasses?

The Jackal actually did make amends to his error though:

Criminal A merely got away with $6000. Right, that fixes everything. Hell, if I go on a shooting spree one day I have a wonderful defence. "Not to worry judge, while I tried to kill 26 people I only actually killed six."
Is this what they call attempted theft? I would have pointed out this wonderful inconsistency but for:

But why does this matter? What is gained from bothering some poor fool who no one listens to on the back-ends of the internet? The reason this matters is because the commentator in question posts this sort of thing on sites that have a wide audience (like The Standard). Gibberish like this gets promulgated, regurgitated and spat out as truth. Even by people who should know better. And no one cares about actually doing their research, all they want is a convenient excuse, no matter how fanciful, to shore up their preconceived biases.

It is something I find quite absurd, hilarious and angering all at the same time.


Seems The Jackalman wasn't too appreciative of my deconstruction concerning his dishonesty and bullshit claims so he has decided to retort with a strawman. Hilariously though he links to a video wherein the Police confirm that 3 pairs of sunglasses were stolen. Ahhh well buddy, better luck next time.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

The Rise of Colin Craig...maybe

There has been a lot of talk recently about the possibility of the Conservative Party in partnership with National if John Banks is finally tarred, feathered and tossed out of Epsom.  Of course, Conservative Party Leader Colin Craig would have to run in the Epsom by-election – his Party garnering less than two percent of the vote (ed note: Conservatives got a little over 2%) in the 2011 election – and defeat Paul Goldsmith, but National could still endorse the Conservative Party candidate.
The question is, would the people of Epsom listen?  And would National find an ally in a social conservative?

New Zealand has a long history of social liberalism and never – at least, in my 30-plus years – have we ever been threatened with a socially conservative government.  Social conservatism exists somewhat outside the mainstream in these shaky isles – supported almost exclusively by religious organisations such as Family First and Destiny Church – and religion and politics do not mix here.

While the New Zealand Parliament begins each sitting with a prayer, the religious nature of our politicians is rarely – if ever – a consideration.  Helen Clark was openly agnostic and, while he attends church, so too is John Key – who believes that religion is “doing the right thing”, as opposed to submission to a heavenly being.  Contrast this with the US where, not only would it be near impossible for an agnostic or atheist to be elected to higher office but, atheists are the least trusted segment of the population. 

Coming from New Zealand – where the 2006 Census showed that nearly a third of the population self-identify as ’non-religious‘ – I find rather bizarre that atheists are so reviled.

So where does this leave poor old Colin Craig and his Conservative Party?  Although there is no doubt that Colin Craig is a Christian he doesn’t, in fact, attend church and his Party policy page doesn’t provide much insight into his proposed method of governance – aside from being tough on crime while oddly libertarian in some aspects but a freaking hard line conservative in others.

Will the New Zealand populace accept a religious social conservative comparable to Rick Santorum on sexual issues, Newt Gingrich when it comes to personal wealth and Rick Perry on his bizarre bloodlust when it comes to crime? 

History doesn't seem to be on Craig’s side and the closest New Zealand has been previously to any type of socially conservative and/or religiously motivated political power was the Christian Heritage Party….and we all remember what happened then…

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

John Banks on Kim Dotcom: I did not have sexual relations with that man

It was a little over a week ago that I speculated on John Banks’ mental health regarding his genuine belief that he could lead ACT to electability in 2014.  If this week’s Kim Dotcom row is anything to go by, it looks like I was right on the money.

Because we’ve all seen the news, I’ll sum it up briefly.  Allegedly:

Banks took a few helicopter rides – which he now seems to have forgotten – to visit Kim Dotcom and help with his application to buy land through the Overseas Investment Office (OIO); have dinner with Mr and Mrs Dotcom; and enjoy a fireworks show.  Somewhere along the line Dotcom donated $50,000 toward Banks’ mayoral bid, which Banks asked be split into $25,000 cheques so as to be claimed as anonymous donations.  Banks then phoned to thank Dotcom for the donations.  Banks denies any knowledge of asking for the donations to be split, or of the phonecall.

Which brings us, in a nutshell, to where we are now.

Now, you’ll excuse any omissions in this breakdown because I’m not trying to focus on this issue – despite it being a serious one.  Rather, I’m more concerned with John Banks’ mental wellbeing and his ability to care for himself. 

The general reaction of someone at the centre of a breaking scandal is to avoid media scrum and any situation where there are tough questions to answer.  So it was rather baffling to see Banks – resplendent in his much-loved velvet jacket – appearing with Labour MP David Parker to debate the Budget on TVNZ’s ‘Q+A’ programme on Sunday.

Within five minutes the interviewer predictably turned to Banks and started questioning him over the Dotcom scandal.  Banks appeared surprised, and stated that he was only there to discuss the Budget.  While David Parker looked positively gleeful, Banks insisted he had “nothing to hide” – and then refused to answer any questions, opting instead to either stare at his shoes or look wistfully off into the distance while muttering about Cabbage Boats.

Whose idea was it to wheel a baffled and confused John Banks into an interview, with an Opposition MP, on TVNZ’s finest political programming when he was on the cusp of a scandal involving a fat German facing extradition to the US?

Surely everyone could see that this was a bad idea from the outset, so who let Banks out of the house?  His demeanour was one of bewilderment – as though he’d been discovered wandering outside TVNZ in his bathrobe, flung into make-up, and then hauled in front of the camera … when all he was looking for was his Sunday morning crepes.

If that weren’t bad enough, he then committed himself to an interview on Radio Live Monday.  During this, he mistook a question about his business relationship with Kim Dotcom for an insinuation that he was involved in a homoerotic relationship with a fat German.  As such, he flipped his lid and exclaimed, “But he’s married!”

He has now, at a press gathering in the halls of Parliament, answered “No” when asked if he knew of the Dotcom donation.  But this was not “No” with the roar of innocence but, rather, with the misty distraction of a cataract patient pretending to see friends and family where only a fridge and hat-stand are present.
John Banks’ behaviour has gone from sycophantic and doddering to downright bizarre, and we can only imagine where it will go next.  Are we going to see him marching into Parliament, half shaven, in his wife’s pink terrycloth robe demanding a cure for pancakes? Or will the men in white coats toss him into a home for the bewildered where he can spend his days making things out of papier-mâché and wearing mittens all year round?

Only one man can make that call. John Key
Key faces a tough choice. Does he keep this Banks around in all his insane glory or does he stand him down from his ministerial post and feed him to the public? When Winston Peters was caught in a similar embroilment over his forgetfulness regarding a donation from Owen Glenn, Key lead a very vocal charge to have Helen Clarke step him down stating unequivocally
"Helen Clark must stand Mr Peters down as a minister. That is what I would do if I were prime minister."

Now that Banks is charged with a similar ‘crime’ Key needs to remain consistent.  If he doesn’t his credibility takes a hit and his carefully prepared 2008 claim that he would run his government by “the highest ethical standards” look hypocritical and disingenuous. It’s a tough time to be Prime Minister, particularly when your one seat majority is held by a bumbling Mr Magoo impersonator.